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Category Archives: Dp Challenge

at last I am 50

Fifty is the age of rationalization
It is definitely not the new 30 unless you have lots of money and surgery or both!

Duck pin bowling is the sport of kings and birthday parties everywhere. As an elementary school child, it was a rainy day or boring Sunday outing. Well, I played this week for the first time in who knows how many years. Truly, it could be longer than my youngest child has been on this Earth.

I have discovered that my magical powers are in my mind; I notice everything and catch each subtext. I speak in multi-syllabic words like epinephrine, balloon angioplasty, Parkinsonian, thyroid stimulating hormone, and know the generic name of almost any drug that I and my relatives are taking. Words are my friends.

Maybe fifty is the age of the mind?

My ability is definitely not in my joints and limbs. There is nothing like trying to join in a sport and hit with power. As I approached the line on the overly slippery lanes, with arrows pointing straight ahead, I looked at those around and how easy they appeared to toss the ball and seeing their strong arms and tendons fly halfway down the lane. With great force, I attempted to fold my body and throw the ball down the lane. My leg went one way and my knee went the other. Ouch!

Then I fell. Charmingly graceful for an overweight 50 year old grandmother to land on her butt and be unable to get back on her feet. I laughed hard ~ the signs of nerves, embarrassment and humiliation. As any sensitive person knows, laugh first and loudly so you don’t have to hear others laugh at you. I am not a fan of slapstick, never have been; I feel too badly for the one falling over and cannot laugh at someone else’s misfortune. It is just an Empathy Queen’s mindset to feel pain and help first. I looked like a nut sitting on the floor laughing and trying to get myself back up. But in the land of 50, as long as you get up that counts as success!

Maybe fifty is the age of the nervous laugh?

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Keep me posted and I will keep you posted!
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freshly-pressed-circle

sesame street swedish chef

I love you, a bushel and a peck!
A bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck!
A hug around the neck, and a barrel and a heap

The ingredients of a life fill in the dash between birth and death. My mother used them lavishly, colorfully and with abandon.

My mother, undaunted by her own strict and occasionally domineering mother, was unfazed at times when she sought independence. As a teenager living in New York, my mother dreamed of cozy cottages and country climes. She had seen a wooden rocking chair and wanted to purchase it for her room. My grandmother felt it was unnecessary and impractical in their modest-sized apartment. My mother was told that she could not get it. Those are fighting words for my mother. She purchased that chair and brought it home, remarkably, on the New York subway system. Through many incarnations, and paint colors, that rocking chair has traveled through several moves across the country and today sits in her home office.

My mother did things on her own timetable and didn’t let the seemingly impossible stop her. Where I am punctual, my mother found the concept of time to be more fluid. If we were supposed to be somewhere in five minutes, that was enough time for her to put on nail polish before we headed into the car.

When I was a teenager, my family moved to New Orleans for a number of years. Mom and Dad had to acclimate to the weather, so hot and humid compared to our New England winters, and become accustomed to a brand new way of life. Both of my parents worked and had to figure out how to maneuver in their new environment while trying to find their way around the city. In the days before Mapquest, and the difficulty in driving in the city while holding a large paper map, it was necessary to remember the minimum number of routes to arrive at your destination. On one shopping excursion, my mother had missed her turn and did not know another way to get back to the Mall. As I was a teenager, fresh from driving lessons and my license still warm, I told my mother that the sign said “No Left Turns.” My mother’s steely reply: “Wanna Bet?”

How could I turn out any other way than strong, determined, caring, and possessing a wit and absurd sense of humor? Even in the horrors of losing my mother to ALS, our quirky brand of love and humor prevailed. My mother told me that the doctor said to her that it is very important for people with ALS to breathe. I looked at her, and said, “Mom, tell the doctor it is important for all patients to breathe.” It took a moment and then, through our shared fear and heartbreak, my mother threw her head back and laughed. I miss that so much.

My mother gifted me bits, pieces and pinches of love, chutzpah, humor, deep intention, perfectionism, creativity, strength, determination, independence and the directive to think about others first. I am held together with the glue of family. We are responsible for each other and are made up of basic truths and a profound sense of belonging. We love all of the members of our family tree because they are “ours.” Mom loved us a bushel and a peck. She sang that song to each of her 15 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. When in doubt, buy balloons or flowers. Even a cup of coffee tastes better when someone else makes it and gives it to you. Two cookies – one in each hand is a balanced meal. The most important lesson in life is to be a mensch. Recipes handed down always have notes in the margins.

Stirred up as I am about injustice, I can be whipped into a froth of self-righteousness and a fight for the underdog. I can stew for a long time, but would prefer to be light hearted. Blending all these parts together and layers of empathy and kindness makes a dessert so precious that it only comes once a lifetime. For now, my mother is an Angel Cake but she gave me the sweetest parts of my nature and the nuttiest parts of my brain. It all begins and ends with great laughter and one slice of life is never enough. The recipe is handed down from generation to generation and now it is my turn to create the sweetness and keep the crust from getting too hard. Have you been served?

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Weekly word challenge – a pinch of me to share with you
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Thank you for stopping by! It means more than you know.
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quill and ink pot red

There are no love letters or birthday cards wrapped in ribbon since the advent of email. My days of pining over a pale blue aerogramme envelope, from a foreign county, and the passion of teenage lust and longing are a concept most cannot remember, let alone have ever experienced.

There was also an art to sending mail and adding stickers, confetti and doodles on the edges. You knew that if you applied the stamp upside down, it meant “I love you.” Yup, we tried to sneak a few tricks past the US Postal system.

I still remember shopping for cute stationary to write my letters with and today still prefer a handwritten thank you note. My favorite stationary in elementary school was strawberry scented (along with the roll-on lip gloss……..ahh what a simpler time).

I have collected cards for birthdays and anniversaries. It is still fun to get snail mail addressed to me and gift cards by post. Also, my mother taught me to throw metallic confetti into the birthday cards for a little extra fun. That is one memory and custom I would like to carry down to my own grandchildren someday.

Don’t get me wrong, emails and photos pass through my computer all day long. It is wonderful for so many things and extremely convenient. However, there are still some niceties that I would like to incorporate.

Brevity be damned; show me some personal attention and don’t delete my ideas or threaten me with a “Reply All.” Don’t respond with a smiley face simply because you want to end the conversation.

When I get a “hello” without my first name, I feel that I might be part of a batch email where someone cut and pasted the text, over and over again, but only changed the email address. It does not feel personal, warm, or necessarily for me, but I got lumped in with the other lucky recipients of the email.

I got an email offering me a free iPhone 4 signed by my husband. Immediately it was consigned to Spam. My husband offering to get me an iPhone? Inconceivable. Improbable. We have financial issues. Also, as a born and bred Canadian, he is not known for major spontaneous gift giving. Well, son of a gun, it really was from him. The phone company was offering it as an incentive. So, yeah, sure, I would love a new cell phone. Distrust and doubt have created filters (email humor) between those whom we love and share notes.

Casual emails, in place of a business letter, where words are abbreviated or spelled in shorthand for texting drive me crazy! This is a business communication so I believe that it should be written just as if I were sending a proper letter. “Luv” is supposed to be in pink on someone’s binder and fluffy pen; it is not part of a semi-serious work email.

The regulations of the grammar police are drilled into my head from years of proofreading and correcting papers. I got a perfect score on my SAT’s on the test of Standard Written English. I was proud of that distinction, but such skills are disappearing from the communication landscape. Today, thanks to email, I have seen handwriting from leaders and captains of industry that looks like they never made it past the sixth grade.

Email is meant as a convenience, but should not be at the expense of correct spelling and complete sentences. Emojis are not a replacement for condolences or congratulations. The nuances of Comic Sans versus Helvetica should not be an indication of your intentions.

Speak to me in full sentences. Use your words. Flattery by font will get you nowhere.

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